Best Beaches in NC: What North Carolina Beaches Are Popular This Summer?

Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

With temperatures ratcheting upwards each day this week in the Tar Heel State, it’s worth wondering when is a good time to break out the beach chairs and hit I-40 to get to one of the state’s myriad of beachfront destinations.  

Whether it be a stalwart of tourism like the Outer Banks or a more secluded getaway like Bald Head Island or Emerald Isle, the state of North Carolina has its fair share of beaches, which begs the question as to which one is the best.  

With that in mind, took some time away from North Carolina sports betting updates and used U.S. News & World Report’s “Best North Carolina Beaches” list as a starting point to see which beaches to use in our research. We then utilized Google Trends to gather the search interest of each beach listed in their report over the past 90 days to finalize the Top 10 beaches that people are looking to visit in NC. 

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Most Search Interest of North Carolina Beaches (Past 90 Days)

Weighted Rank 



Search Interest (vs. other topics) over past 90 days 

Carolina Beach 

New Hanover 


Emerald Isle 



Nags Head 



Topsail Beach 



Holden Beach 



Atlantic Beach 



Kill Devil Hills 



Ocracoke Island 



Bald Head Island 




Cape Hatteras 



Which NC Beach Has Driven The Most Interest Online?

Overall, New Hanover County’s Carolina Beach has drawn the most search interest over the last 90 days, with a score of 66, with the Wilmington area getaway knocking off Carteret County’s Emerald Isle (61 search interest score) and Nags Head in Dare County (49 search interest score) statewide.  

Throw in other tourism favorites like Topsail Beach in Pender County (35 search interest score), Brunswick County’s Holden Beach (33 search interest score) and Atlantic Beach on Bogue Banks (32 search interest score) and you have the full scope of the top end beaches in North Carolina.  

Rounding out the list for 2024 are Kill Devil Hills (27 search interest score), while fellow OBX destination Ocracoke Island (25 search interest score) and Cape Hatteras (10 search interest score) were bookended by No. 9 Bald Head Island, which drew a search interest score of 13.  

Overall, it’s fair to say that North Carolina’s white-clad beaches are a draw for Americans of all backgrounds, which helps explain the outsized interest in the Tar Heel State’s sandy outposts as the summer months draw ever closer.  

We hope you enjoyed this piece from BetCarolina, the home to the best North Carolina sportsbook promos. Enjoy the best beaches in the Tar Heel State this summer.

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Christopher Boan is a lead writer at specializing in covering state issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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